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Lisa Stewart-Brown

Program Manager, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Banfield Pet Hospital

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Mental Fitness: How Feedback Makes You Resilient

05/23/2020 06:00AM | 1397 views

This is Part 2 of 2 articles covering a key skill we need to help younger generations develop: how to self-regulate. Part 1 is here.

“Stop being weird.” 

That’s a valuable lesson from the playground, for those of us old enough to remember growing up playing unsupervised with kids in the neighborhood.

Don’t get me wrong: the lesson is NOT to stop being weird. 

Be as weird as you want to be.

The lesson is: people will think you’re weird. They might even tell you to your face that they think you’re weird. 

And that’s out of your control. 

This is a valuable lesson that members of Gen X and older likely received many times over throughout childhoods where they grew up managing their own social interactions on the playground (or in the neighborhood). I’ll call them playground kids. 

It’s a lesson that might not be quite as common for members of Generations Y and Z – whom I will call playdate kids – because their social interactions were more often initiated and managed by adults. 

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I’m not saying either parenting style is the “correct” way. They simply represent the different safety concerns as they evolved over time. 

Whether you’re a leader of Gens Y and Z in the workplace, or a parent of them or younger kids, or both leader and parent – it’s important to recognize the benefits of learning how to cope with negative feedback. 

Sort Through Input and Grow from It

Every single one of us will likely be hurt by feedback about our work or about ourselves many times throughout our lives. If you lead or parent someone who falls apart in that situation, you have an opportunity to help them grow by helping them practice resilience. 

“Why did you say that?” 

“Don't be so loud.” 

“Why are you wearing that?" 

Kids can be harsh. Sometimes they’re mean, sometimes they’re scared or insecure, sometimes they’re speaking the truth (without tact). 

The same can be true of feedback received at work. 

“Your idea will never work.”

“Your opinion doesn’t matter because that’s not your area of expertise.”

“You have a great idea but you’d convince more people if you improved your presentation.” 

Again, some of that feedback is not helpful, but some of it can be. 

How can you help people learn how to sort through the input and grow from it? 

·      Prepare the person so they know feedback is coming. Everyone appreciates a heads up. “I would like to talk about what worked well in that meeting and where there are opportunities to have even more impact. Is this a good time for us to connect on this topic?” 

·      Start the feedback with a question: “Overall, how do you think the meeting went?” Stay curious and listen for their perspective.

·      When giving feedback, ask for feedback. “Do you have any feedback for me about the meeting?” 

Every one of us, no matter our age or role at a company, can improve the way we receive, manage and learn from feedback. 

Lisa Stewart-Brown a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is the Program Manager for Mental Health and Wellbeing for Banfield Pet Hospital.

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